I have been gorging myself on berries lately. The last bunch of strawberries I bought was so sweet it’s almost criminal. The only thing that irritates me when I buy berries though is that they go bad so quickly (which is, perhaps, where my gorging comes in…). I like to wash them when I come home so they are always clean and ready to eat. But when I switch them from the perforated plastic container they come in to a clear glass bowl, I end up having to rotate the whole lot because the ones on the bottom get all gooey. If I had one of these lovely ceramic berry baskets, however, all my problems would be solved! A pretty container, for sure, and proper air flow to boot, so no more gooey strawberries! Yay!
For the last few weeks strawberries have been on sale at my local produce store. So everyday, I have a few for breakfast. But lately, I’m feeling a little underwhelmed with my yogurt or cottage cheese and strawberry meal. These would make a lovely substitution!
STRAWBERRIES & CREAM MUFFINS
image and recipe via Jane’s Sweets & Baking Journal
1 cup whole milk (or 2/3 cup of 2% milk and 1/3 cup half-and-half, mixed together)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. plus 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh ripe strawberries chopped into very small pieces (the redder and sweeter, the better!)
4 oz. full-fat cream cheese, very soft
1 1/2 Tbsp. of liquid from one whole egg that’s been beaten lightly
1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line your muffin pan, or use nonstick baking spray very liberally. Cut up your berries and set them aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together with a spoon the cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract. Mix until almost all the lumps are gone. Set aside, but don’t chill it.
- Melt the butter slowly in a sauce pan on low heat. Add the remaining vanilla extract and the milk into the butter, stirring to combine. Cool until the mixture is just warm, then whisk in the eggs.
- In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine with a whisk, the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour all of the butter, milk, and egg mixture into the dry ingredients, blending just until combined. Don’t overmix. It’s okay if a few little flour streaks are still evident.
- Using a portion scoop or spoon, fill each muffin cup barely half full. Scatter a few pieces of strawberry on top of each one.
- Using a small spoon, dab a generous teaspoonful or so of the cream cheese mixture on top of the berries. On top of that, add on another tablespoon or two of the muffin batter. On top of that, add a few more pieces of strawberry. Push them in just slightly.
- Sprinkle the tops of the unbaked muffins very generously with coarse sugar for a nice sparkle.
- Bake the muffins for about 15 to 18 minutes, until they’re light golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
Be sure to check out Jane’s site for a full photographic play-by-play of the process. DEElicious!